Steam Updates User Interface, Adds Note Taking System, Enables Hardware Acceleration on Linux and Mac
Holy crud. It’s been three months since the last stable Steam desktop/Steam Deck client update has shipped out (well, there was technically an update in April, but all it was was a fix for Steam Input). As such, there are tons of changes, features, fixes, and everything in-between with this update.
The first thing is backend changes for a more unified codebase between the desktop client and the Steam Deck client. “Much of the work went into changing how we share code across the Steam Desktop Client, Big Picture mode, and Steam Deck,” says the Steam blog post. “These changes also means quicker implementation and iteration of new features. For example, many of the features in this update (like Notes in the overlay) are simultaneously shipping on Steam Deck because of the shared codebase.”
Next is an updated UI. You’ll notice the “dialogs, menus, fonts, and colors” have been adjusted in a way to bring “visual and usability improvements across Steam.”
What’s probably the best part of this update is an updated notification system that’s more useful to the end user. Finally, say goodbye to those annoying “You have 1 new item in your inventory” green letter notifications! “The green bell only lights up when there’s truly something new for you.” You can also customize what sort of notifications you want to be notified of.
The in-game overlay has been overhauled. The interface has been updated, along with a new toolbar that gives you access to friends chat, achievements, guides, forums, web browser, “and more. We’ve picked a few overlay windows to show by default, and you can pick and personalize the pieces of content you’d like to see in your own overlay – settings are saved between games.”
You can now take notes in-game. When you bring up the Steam overlay, you can write notes down. Rich text formatting is supported, as well as images. Notes are synced between devices, including your Deck.
You can pin notes, guides, forums, achievements, and/or Steam’s web browser to your game. These windows have an adjustable opacity. “This feature is perfect for keeping track of progress or guides while in-game, or for multi-tasking maniacs who love to have a movie on in the background while they game.”
The Steam overlay includes a Game Overview panel. “It shows what achievements you have in progress, which friends are also playing, top guides, news, and more. In addition, the browser, achievements, and screenshot manager windows have been updated (both in the overlay and in the desktop client).”
The controller experience has been improved. The controller configurator now uses the same UI that the Steam Deck has, and virtual menus can also be used.
On Linux and Mac, hardware acceleration is now enabled by default. This should result in “snappier animations, scrolling and more responsive UI.”
Aside from this there is an overwhelming list of bug fixes and other minor adjustments for Friends & Chat, BPM, Steam Input, Remote Play, and Linux-specific changes.
By extension, these changes have also made their way over to the Steam Deck. See the Deck-specific patch notes here.